Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion lauded the move of Japan to fund the Association of Southeast Asian Nation Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN).
In a statement on Friday, Feb. 10, Concepcion, who is also a member of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), said Japan's contribution to the development of small businesses through mentorship would greatly help the region's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
“Through their support of AMEN, the Government of Japan has contributed greatly to creating prosperity for more in the ASEAN by uplifting the SMEs, which make up 96 percent of the total enterprises in the region,” Concepcion said.
He noted his observation that even in Japan, SMEs comprise almost all of the enterprises in the country, and that across ASEAN, efforts to accelerate economic growth and job generation through small business enterprises are aligned.
Concepcion is in Japan to witness the Philippines' presentation of a Certificate of Gratitude to the Government of Japan, which was received by Yutaka Arima of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Japan, through the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), gave a grant amounting to US$681,339 to fund the AMEN. It was one of 35 agreements, loans, and grants exchanged in Tokyo during President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.’s official visit.
AMEN is a region-wide program originated in the Philippines as Kapatid Mentorship for Micro Enterprises (KMME) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Go Negosyo. It aims to significantly help small businesses in the region through mentorship.
It is based on KMME, which has benefited more than 12,000 MSMEs and mobilized over 800 mentors since 2016. AMEN was launched in 2017 as the legacy project of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council-Philippines during the Philippines chairmanship of the ASEAN.
The mentorship program has completed its pilot implementation in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and its ten-part module has been translated to seven languages namely Khmer, Indonesian, Lao, Bahasa Malay, Burmese, Thai, and Viet.